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Can Smartphone Apps Change Our Behavior?

Apps like Lose It!, left, and One Small Act, right, help people track their behaviour. Lose It! tracks calorie intake, excercise and weight loss. One Small Act helps you find small actions to help lessen your impact on the environment. (Courtesy)

Apps like Lose It!, pictured left, and One Small Act help people track their behavior. Lose It! tracks calorie intake, excercise and weight loss. One Small Act helps you find small actions to help lessen your impact on the environment. (Courtesy)

The smartphone is a beautiful thing. Part phone, part Web browser, part GPS, part personal organizer — we have begun to expect our phones  to do just about anything to help make our lives easier.

Well, now they are — or at least their trying to.

Smartphones apps are taking on roles traditionally held by real people — diet coach, exercise instructor, therapist. In the app development sector there is a growing field of smartphone apps, many of which are being developed in the Boston area, dedicated to changing your behavior for the better. There are apps that profess to help you lose weight, exercise more and sleep better.

So, can your phone really change who you are?

Guests:

  • Stephen Intille, professor, college of computer and information science at Northeastern University
  • Richard McNally, professor and director of clinical training in the department of psychology at Harvard University, author, “What Is Mental Illness?”
  • Susan Hunt Stevens, founder and CEO of Practically Green

Other stories from this show:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Amelia Blake

    As an autist, I would like to point out that stimming behavior (hand flapping, rocking, etc) is NOT harmful at all, and helps us concentrate. The only “benefit” is that it’ll make allists (non autistic people) marginally more comfortable around us.

    The social scripts thing is interesting though.

  • Marion King

    Did anyone catch the name of the professor that developed the social app?

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